During F&W Cookie Week, some of our favorite digital contributors are sharing their best holiday cookie recipes in a virtual swap. Post your favorite baking experiments on Instagram using #FWCookie. Here, snowy beauties from Three Little Halves.
It was at midnight in Plaza Virgen de Los Reyes in Seville when I first experienced the scent of orange blossoms. I was on my honeymoon, how appropriate. I am not sure if it was the magic of the hour, or the honeymoon effect, or the scent itself, but that moment stayed with me forever.
Seville is to be blamed for my habit of keeping a tiny bottle of orange blossom water in the fridge and sniffing it every once in a while at midnight when the house is asleep. And Seville is to be blamed for these cookies, for it is the scent of orange blossoms and the aroma of citrus that, for me, bring about the magic of the holidays, happiness and warmth. During December we bake tons of them, dust them in vanilla scented powdered sugar and celebrate the season.
They say that orange blossoms bring good fortune. How appropriate!
Pistachio Orange Blossom Winter Cookies
Note: Keep the cookies in an airtight container for at least one day before serving.
5 oz pistachios, ground into fine meal
6 oz butter
4 oz granulated sugar
12 oz all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoons finely-grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons orange blossom water
12 oz firm orange marmalade (I use Smucker’s Sweet Orange Marmelade)
1 vanilla bean, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
About 6 oz confectioners sugar, for dusting
1. A couple of days before making the cookies mix the confectioners sugar with the vanilla bean. Store the sugar in a dry place, in a jar with a tight lid.
2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter with the granulated sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice and orange blossom water. Add the flour and pistachios and mix until a uniform dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 325°F convection bake (350°F regular bake). Place the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour and roll it out to quarter inch thick round. Using a small round cookie cutter (mine is 1 1/4 inch) stamp out the cookies and arrange them on the baking sheets one inch apart. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven before the edges start to turn golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for five minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
4. Once the cookies have cooled, take a cookie round at a time, spread the marmelade on it and top with another cookie round.
5. Pour the vanilla sugar into a small bowl. Roll each cookie-sandwich in the vanilla sugar until it is generously coated. Keep the cookies in an airtight container for at least one day before serving.
Makes about 50 cookies